The first high school champions of the fall season were introduced across the three state boys golf tournaments Tuesday — and like a perfect approach, the local scene’s title count for the 2022-23 school year is off to a nice start with a Class 5A champion in Caleb Michaels of Monarch.
The Coyotes senior won on the last putt of his high school career at City Park Golf Course in Denver. Three others from the counties of Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont finished inside their respective top 10 state fields. Boulder’s Luke Blankinship tied for fourth in 5A, Holy Family’s Rudiger Heitz took fourth and Peak to Peak’s Jack Brayman tied for fifth at Pinehurst Country Club in 3A.
Boys tennis awards are next.
Players will attempt to qualify for the individual tennis state championships this week at regionals across the state. Boulder, Fairview, Monarch, Niwot, Peak to Peak and Dawson had all previously reached the team tennis postseason but have since been eliminated.
Below is where things currently stand for each fall sport.
Niwot tennis aces looking to make another deep run
While the Cougars bowed out of the quarterfinals round in the 4A team postseason last weekend, their top two players in Luke Weber and LiChen Liao will be top contenders at the Niwot-hosted regional this Thursday and Friday.
Both won the region last year. BoCoPreps.com player of the year Liao followed it up with a state title in 4A No. 2 singles, while Weber took fourth at 1-singles.
Last Saturday, Weber fell to Kent Denver’s Nate Gold in the team quarterfinals as the Sun Devils won the dual 4-3. Liao beat Will Moldenhauer.
Elsewhere, Fairview won its first-round match in the team postseason before falling to Valor Christian. Boulder, Monarch, Peak to Peak and Dawson all bowed out in its first-round matches.
Individually, Broomfield’s Kai Trujillo leads the area in No. 1 singles wins on MaxPreps with a 13-1 record. Monarch’s Luke Jensen, in his first year as the team ace, is second at 12-4.
Both state tournaments are scheduled for Oct. 13-15. Class 5A is at City Park in Denver. 4A is at Pueblo City Park.
Defending softball champ Holy Family streaking at the perfect time
The 4A No. 2 Tigers won their 46th straight league game in a 16-1 victory over Longmont Tuesday. Upping their current win streak to 12 games, Essynce Contreraz, who is well known for her basketball skills, homered, tripled and drove in five.
Across I-25, 5A No. 3 Erie won the 5A/4A Front Range League regular-season title and pushed the state’s longest winning streak to 17 games in a 10-3 win over Loveland Tuesday.
Addie Osborne homered for the third time in five games to lead the way over the Red Wolves. The Tigers will finish their regular season at home against Prairie View Thursday.
Elsewhere in 4A, Makenzie Sais has a state-leading 51 stolen bases for No. 5 Frederick. Joselynn Veltien is closing in on 550 career strikeouts for No. 6 Mead. Boulder is atop the leaderboard in the 4A/3A Colorado League.
In 5A, No. 8 Broomfield got three RBIs from its ace Breanna Fiala in a 7-6 win over No. 7 Horizon Tuesday. The Eagles have won 11 of 12.
The regular season concludes Saturday. Regionals and a chance to qualify for the state tournament in all three classifications are scheduled for Oct. 15.
Broomfield soccer finding late production
The Eagles and Jim Davidson’s successor, Zachary Hindman, are finding the kind of late execution that helped Broomfield become the best soccer program in state history.
Broomfield, ranked third in Class 5A, scored a total of seven goals in the second half in recent wins over No. 4 Boulder and No. 8 Fairview. Now in the driver’s seat in the Front Range League South, it has three games remaining, including a finale against No. 2 Legacy Oct. 13 that could decide the regular-season league champ.
In 4A, Centaurus is ranked third a year after being a .500 program. Niwot is eighth with five straight wins. Silver Creek is ninth.
Jefferson Academy is back at No. 1 in 3A. Peak to Peak, closing in on its first double-digit win season since 2015, is ninth at 7-2-1.
Nederland, meanwhile, is on the cusp of breaking into the 2A postseason field. The Panthers have won five games this fall, their most since 2011.
The last day of the regular season is Oct. 22. Playoffs follow with state title games set for Nov. 12 at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs.
Legacy continues to look strong in volleyball
The Lightning’s 10-game winning streak to start the season was a nice early-season story. But the run ended up in Fort Collins in a four-set loss to No. 8 Fossil Ridge. And that was that …
Wrong. Will Rozum’s team has won four straight since, including a comeback from 2-0 down to beat city rival Broomfield last week. In it, do-it-all star Alexandra Urbina had nine kills, three aces and 22 digs.
Legacy is currently sixth in 5A’s RPI, while Broomfield and its standout outside hitter Lillia Neill are 15th.
Niwot and Jefferson Academy are the only area teams currently ranked in the state. The 4A eighth-ranked Cougars came into Wednesday with nine straight set wins. The Jaguars, who are eighth in 3A, have been led by a trio of strong hitters this season in Emilee Harding, Monica Slusser and Laila Gallaher.
Volleyball regionals conclude the first week of November. The state tournament follows Nov. 10-12 at the Denver Coliseum.
Niwot girls cross country is set up for another state title run
Winning doesn’t get old. It might feel redundant when talking about the Cougars girls cross country team, but it doesn’t get old.
The girls, winners of the last four Class 4A XC titles, returned from the Desert Twilight XC Festival in Mesa, Arizona last week with another top-tier win in hand. Madison Shults finished fourth in the sweepstakes race, Mia Prok sixth and Bella Nelson 11th.
Meanwhile the fastest times posted in Colorado go like this: In girls, Broomfield’s Maelynn Higgins, a North Carolina commit, has the ninth-best time with a school-record 5K time of 17:24.40. For boys, Erie’s Evan Kraus has the fourth-fastest time at 14:58.
Regionals will be completed by Oct. 22. The state races at Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs are set for Oct. 29.
Four local football teams are ranked inside the top 10 in the state
The Broomfield area has three of those ranked teams: 5A No. 10 Legacy, 4A No. 2 Broomfield and 3A No. 9 Holy Family.
The other is Lyons, which is sixth in 8-man football.
The other teams currently inside the playoff picture per the state’s rating index are Fairview in 5A, Skyline, Erie, Longmont, Monarch and Silver Creek in 4A, and Frederick in 3A.
Individually, Fairview’s Rowan Risner, Monarch’s Asher Ewing and Broomfield Cole LaCrue are all inside the top 10 in state passing yards. LaCrue, who has had the best production in the state through six weeks, has 14 touchdowns through the air and another 12 on the ground.
Broomfield’s Mikhail Benner is tied for the lead in interceptions with six. Erie’s Jackson Cowgill leads the area with six sacks.
Week 7 begins Thursday.
Niwot and Broomfield eyeing more hardware in gymnastics
Over the previous seven seasons, the Cougars have won two team titles and have been runner-up in Class 4A three times.
The Eagles were 5A champs in 2021, following their second-place finish in 2020.
— Broomfield Athletics (@Eagle_athletics) February 23, 2022
Regionals run Oct. 27-29. The state meet is at Thornton High School and runs Nov. 3-5.
Other sports notes
Erie, Frederick, Silver Creek, Longmont, Mead, Niwot and Skyline all field teams in unified bowling. Their regular season ends Nov. 5. Frederick will host all of them at a regional at Centennial Lanes in Longmont Nov. 9.
State finals are set for Nov. 18.
— Jackie Kapushion, Ed.D. (@SVVSDdeputy) October 3, 2022
Spirit finals are Dec. 8-10.
Last year, Erie won all-girls cheer in 4A. Prospect Ridge won it in 3A.
Let’s go Erie!! Taking team spirit by #Stvrainstorm @SVVSDsupt @SVVSDdeputy @svvsdcommunity @SVVSD @TigersPrincipal @ErieHighSchool @ErieHSAthletics @ChadCooper_EHS @LizRussell_edu @DPerfettiDeany @erie_counseling @ErieTigerMedia pic.twitter.com/dAefGoR02E
— Kim Peebles (@ErieHigh_AP) September 17, 2022
The area does not have a varsity field hockey team. Boulder is playing its first season in JV this fall.